Over the threshold of a new year

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Back in October, K and I celebrated my 46th birthday watching Matt Nathanson and Matchbox Twenty perform at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Matt opened with the perfect blend of concert, revival, and comedy jam that energized the crowd for Rob Thomas and crew’s last stop on their 20th anniversary tour. The arena went completely black at the same moment a single white spotlight illuminated an empty microphone stand.

Continue reading Over the threshold of a new year

Challenging power

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” — Lord Acton, 1887

When the collective we gives too much power to individuals through blind hero worship, that power is almost certainly going to corrupt. This is the case for athletes, celebrities, business leaders, and, most dangerously, politicians.

It’s time for us as individuals, the actors within the collective we, to chip away at and challenge that absolute power wherever it exists.

The cost you pay for advocacy

“I think that when we get attacked by other men, that’s the cost that you pay for being an advocate. As an ally, you’re supposed to take the bullet so that other women don’t have to. If you’re not willing to pay that cost, then you are not ready to join the movement. Because women have to take backlash all day, every day, so why is it okay for them to take it, but you’re too afraid to take it, as a man, when you’re in the position of power?”

Guys who have sincerely been trying to figure out how we help fight sexism, this interview with former NFL player Wade Davis is for you. Great insight.

Hearing each other’s stories

This is one of the most salient pieces of art I’ve ever seen — and I have my kid to thank for it. He’s heard me talk about these issues at length, and I’m proud that he sees the importance of us engaging with them and each other’s stories.

One request. If you start it, please watch until the end. Warning, this is difficult to watch. The language is intense and NSFW.

Standards of behavior

“How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that.” — Savannah Guthrie

Just the other day, I made the tongue-in-cheek comment (referring to how we raise our kids) that “consequences are so 1999.” But we have to have standards of behavior and consequences, though. It’s one of the hallmarks of civil society, and it feels like we’re at a point of reckoning here in 2017.

Calling out bad behavior

#MeToo is a movement forged in both solidarity and individual bravery. I am saddened that is so pervasive, more distraught by the number of people who could have done something about it and didn’t. We all have to say enough is enough, even if it means calling out these behaviors in places of power, our families, and our friends. Even if you’re not a part of the problem, please be an active part of the solution.

The wisdom of a driver named Minnie

I heard her pleasant good evening, how are you all tonight? as I ducked my head into her Chevy Cruze, barely making out her profile in the driver’s seat, that five o’clock view you get of most Uber drivers’ faces. Minnie was our ride from the hotel to a Latin restaurant a few miles away, our short connection a happenstance of supply and demand at the right time, right place. Her voice was as pleasant as the smile that graced the corner of her mouth and her personality filled the car with joy.

Our trip didn’t last more than a few minutes, but we learned that Minnie was born in rural Northern Arkansas, not far from Memphis. She’d spent years in Detroit but moved to Louisville for a new start away from a once vibrant Motor City.

I was there when our mayor smoked crack, she noted.

Ah, good old Marion Barry, I chuckled.

She was quick to defend her former home and her family members that still live there. They’re doing a lot better now. 

She told us about her mother who’d recently passed — the glue of their family, the reason for all coming together on a regular basis. Her family was a United NationsWe had blacks, and Asians, and Caucasians, and Puerto Ricans. And we all came together. She worried that they’d drift apart now that their matriarch was gone.

As we approached our destination one of us commented how upside-down the world seems right now. Minnie paused, and said matter-of-factly, We just need a little more love. Love is easy. It takes effort to hate. 

Her words bounced around in my mind and heart as we stepped out of the car and wished her a wonderful evening.

Love is easy. It takes effort to hate.